Fall 2020 Preview

We’re highlighting here  some of the biographies due out this fall and winter that are likely to garner critical and popular acclaim, because of their subject, their author, or both. The titles already getting buzz are drawn from Publishers WeeklyKirkus ReviewsBooklistLibrary Journal, and Amazon, among others. BIO members with upcoming releases are noted in bold type.

Please note: We do our best to learn about new books, and the ongoing monthly “In Stores” feature in The Biographer’s Craft will include even more fall and winter releases. But, if we’ve missed any members’ upcoming releases, please let us know so we can add them to this list.


Hitler: Downfall: 1939–1945 by Volker Ullrich, translated by Jefferson Chase (Knopf)

The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X by Les Payne and Tamara Payne (Liveright)

Goya: A Portrait of the Artist by Janis Tomlinson (Princeton University Press)

The Man Who Ran Washington: The Life and Times of James A. Baker III by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser (Doubleday)

The Daughters of Yalta: The Churchills, Roosevelts, and Harrimans: A Story of Love and War by Catherine Grace Katz (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Three-Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty by Jeff Pearlman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War—A Tragedy in Three Acts by Scott Anderson (Doubleday)

The Virginia Dynasty: Four Presidents and the Creation of the American Nation by Lynne Cheney (Viking)

His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, A Life by Jonathan Alter (Simon & Schuster)

Wild Thing: The Short, Spellbinding Life of Jimi Hendrix by Philip Norman (Liveright)

The Great Inoculator: The Untold Story of Daniel Sutton and His Medical Revolution by Gavin Weightman (Yale University Press)

Andrea Dworkin: The Feminist as Revolutionary by Martin Duberman (The New Press)

Young Rembrandt by Onno Blom, translated by Beverley Jackson (W. W. Norton)

Ten Days in Harlem: Fidel Castro and the Making of the 1960s by Simon Hall (Faber and Faber)

JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917–1956 by Fredrik Logevall (Random House)

Sex, Love, and Letters: Writing Simone de Beauvoir by Judith G. Coffin (Cornell University Press)

Agent Sonya: Moscow’s Most Daring Wartime Spy by Ben Macintyre (Crown)

The Martyrdom of Collins Catch the Bear by Gary Spence (Seven Stories)

Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation by Peter Cozzens (Knopf)

Reclaiming Her Time: The Power of Maxine Waters by Helena Andrews-Dyer and R. Eric Thomas (Dey Street)

Abe: Abraham Lincoln in His Times by David S. Reynolds (Penguin Press)

Blood and Oil: Mohammed bin Salman’s Ruthless Quest for Global Power by Justin Scheck and Bradley Hope (Hachette)

Elway: A Relentless Life by Jason Cole (Hachette)

True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee by Abraham Riesman (Crown)

Charmian Kittredge London: Trailblazer, Author, Adventurer by Iris Jamahl Dunkle (University of Oklahoma Press)

Women in the Dark: Female Photographers in the US, 1850–1900 by Katherine Manthorne (Schiffer)

The Life of William Faulkner: This Alarming Paradox, 1935–1962 by Carl Rollyson (University of Virginia Press)

The Voice of Liberty by Angelica Shirley Carpenter (South Dakota Historical Society Press)

Rookwood: The Rediscovery and Revival of an American Icon—An Illustrated History by Bob Batchelor  (Rockport Publishers)



The Good American: The Epic Life of Bob Gersony, the U.S. Government’s Greatest Humanitarian by Robert D. Kaplan (Random House)

150 Glimpses of the Beatles by Craig Brown (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The Man Who Ate Too Much: The Life of James Beard by John Birdsall (W. W. Norton)

Eleanor by David Michaelis (Simon & Schuster)

Stalin: Passage to Revolution by Ronald Grigor Suny (Princeton University Press)

The Zealot and the Emancipator: John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, and the Struggle for American Freedom by H. W. Brands (Doubleday)

Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath by Heather Clark (Knopf)

What Becomes a Legend Most: The Biography of Richard Avedon by Philip Gefter (HarperCollins)

Philip and Alexander: Kings and Conquerors by Adrian Goldsworthy (Basic Books)

Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise by Scott Eyman (Simon & Schuster)

The Nolan Variations: The Movies, Mysteries, and Marvels of Christopher Nolan by Tom Shone (Knopf)

Catching the Wind: Edward Kennedy and the Liberal Hour, 1932–1975 by Neal Gabler (Crown)

Woody Guthrie: An Intimate Life by Gustavus Stadler (Beacon)

A Brotherhood Betrayed: The Man Behind the Rise and Fall of Murder, Inc. by Michael Cannell (Minotaur)

Behold the Monster: Confronting America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer and Uncovering the Women Society Forgot by Jillian Lauren (Dutton)

Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years by Michael Posner (Simon & Schuster)

The Butterfly Effect: How Kendrick Lamar Ignited the Soul of Black America by Marcus J. Moore (Atria)

An Event, Perhaps: A Biography of Jacques Derrida by Peter Salmon (Verso)

She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs by Sarah Smarsh (Scribner)

Max Jacob: A Life in Art and Letters by Rosanna Warren (W. W. Norton)

This Thing Called Life: Prince’s Odyssey, On and Off the Record by Neal Karlen (St. Martin’s Press)

Beethoven: A Life in Nine Pieces by Laura Tunbridge (Yale University Press)

Walker Evans: Starting from Scratch by Svetlana Alpers (Princeton University Press)

Poet of Revolution: The Making of John Milton by Nicholas McDowell (Princeton University Press)

The Last Sovereigns: Sitting Bull and the Resistance of the Free Lakotas by Robert M. Utley (Bison Books)

A Glorious Liberty: Frederick Douglass and the Fight for an Antislavery Constitution by Damon Root (Potomac Books)

Prince Philip Revealed by Ingrid Seward (Atria)

Mad at the World: A Life of John Steinbeck by William Souder (W. W. Norton)



The Last American Aristocrat: The Brilliant Life and Improbable Education of Henry Adams by David S. Brown (Scribner)

Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto by Miren Arzalluz (Thames & Hudson)

The Power of Adrienne Rich: A Biography by Hilary Holladay (Nan A. Talese)

Magritte: A Life by Alexander Danchev and Sarah Whitfield (Pantheon)

The Lives of Lucian Freud: Fame, 1968–2011 by William Feaver (Knopf)

Francis Bacon: Revelations by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan (Knopf)

The Book Collectors: A Band of Syrian Rebels and the Stories That Carried Them Through a War by Delphine Minoui, translated by Lara Vergnaud (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House by Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz (Crown)

Saving Freedom: Truman, the Cold War, and the Fight for the Future of Europe by Joe Scarborough, (Harper)

The Marathon Don’t Stop: The Life and Times of Nipsey Hussle by Rob Kenner (Atria)

Benedict XVI The Biography: Volume One by Peter Seewald (Bloomsbury Continuum)

The Panzer Killers: The Untold Story of a Fighting General and His Spearhead Tank Division’s Charge into the Third Reich by Daniel P. Bolger (Dutton Caliber)

Russell Lee: A Photographer’s Life and Legacy by Mary Jane Appel (Liveright)

The Patriots: Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and the Making of America by Winston Groom (National Geographic)

The Woman Who Stole Vermeer: The True Story of Rose Dugdale and the Russborough House Art Heist by Anthony M. Amore (Pegasus Crime)

The Business of Tomorrow: The Visionary Life of Harry Guggenheim: From Aviation and Rocketry to the Creation of an Art Dynasty by Dirk Smillie (Pegasus Books)

Veblen: The Making of an Economist Who Unmade Economics by Charles Camic (Harvard University Press)

The Shadow Drawing: How Science Taught Leonardo How to Paint by Francesca Fiorani (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The Last American Hero: The Remarkable Life of John Glenn by Alice L. George (Chicago Review Press)



Lady Bird Johnson: Hiding in Plain Sight by Julia Sweig (Random House)

Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of Harriet the Spy by Leslie Brody (Seal)

El Chapo: The Untold Story of the World’s Most Infamous Drug Lord by Noah Hurowitz (Atria)

Mozart: The Reign of Love by Jan Swafford (Harper)

Sylvia Pankhurst: Natural Born Rebel by Rachel Holmes (Bloomsbury Publishing)

Inferno: The True Story of a B–17 Gunner’s Heroism and the Bloodiest Military Campaign in Aviation History by Joe Pappalardo (St. Martin’s Press)

The Last Days of John Lennon by James Patterson, with Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge (Little, Brown)

Inventing Elvis: An American Icon in a Cold War World by Mathias Haeussler (Bloomsbury Academic)

The Search for John Lennon: The Life, Loves, and Death of a Rock Star by Lesley-Ann Jones (Pegasus Books)

Restless Enterprise: The Art and Life of Eliza Pratt Greatorex by Katherine Manthorne (University of California Press)

Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell by Alison M. Parker (University of North Carolina Press)



Queens of the Crusades: England’s Medieval Queens by Alison Weir (Ballantine)

A Shot in the Moonlight: How a Freed Slave and a Confederate Soldier Fought for Justice in the Jim Crow South by Ben Montgomery (Little, Brown Spark)

Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells by Michelle Duster (Atria)

The Unquiet Englishman: A Life of Graham Greene by Richard Greene (W. W. Norton)

With Her Fist Raised: Dorothy Pitman Hughes and the Transformative Power of Black Community Activism by Laura L. Lovett (Beacon)

The Crown in Crisis: Countdown to the Abdication by Alexander Larman (St. Martin’s Press)

Icebound: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World by Andrea Pitzer (Scribner)

Goering’s Man in Paris: The Story of a Nazi Art Plunderer and His World by Jonathan Petropoulos (Yale University Press)

Ibsen’s Kingdom: The Man and His Works by Evert Sprinchorn (Yale University Press)

Devils, Lusts and Strange Desires: The Life of Patricia Highsmith by Richard Bradford (Bloomsbury Caravel)

The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine by Janice P. Nimura (W. W. Norton)

Overnight Code: The Life of Raye Montague, the Woman Who Revolutionized Naval Engineering by Paige Bowers and David Montague (Lawrence Hill Books)



Three Ordinary Girls: The Remarkable Story of Hannie Schaft and the Oversteegen Sisters, Teenaged Saboteurs and Nazi Assassins by Tim Brady (Kensington)

Mike Nichols: A Life by Mark Harris (Penguin Press)

The Princess Spy: The True Story of World War II Spy Aline Griffith, Countess of Romanones by Larry Loftis (Atria Books)

The Life She Wished to Live: A Biography of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Author of The Yearling by Ann McCutchan (W. W. Norton)

Sybille Bedford: A Life by Selina Hastings (Knopf)

Radiant: The Dancer, The Scientist and a Friendship Forged in Light by Liz Heinecke (Grand Central)

Tom Stoppard: A Life by Hermione Lee (Knopf)

George Washington: The Political Rise of America’s Founding Father by David O. Stewart (Dutton)

Bugsy Siegel: The Dark Side of the American Dream by Michael Shnayerson (Yale University Press)